, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 306-317
Date: 29 May 2008

Reasons for Ineffective Contraceptive Use Antedating Adolescent Pregnancies: Part 2: A Proxy for Childbearing Intentions

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Purpose Compare the relationship between childbearing intentions, maternal behaviors, and pregnancy outcomes in a group of early/middle adolescents versus a group of late adolescents (specifically high school seniors, high school graduates, and GED certificate recipients). Methods The reasons given by a racially/ethnically diverse group of 1,568 pregnant 13–18 year olds for not using contraception were used to classify their pregnancies as intended or unintended. Proportion comparison tests and stepwise logistic regression analyses were used to study the relationship between childbearing intentions, maternal behaviors, and pregnancy outcomes. Results Regardless of age, adolescents who intended to become pregnant conceived in an objectively more hospitable and supportive childbearing milieu than those who conceived unintentionally. This is evidenced by their greater likelihood of having goals compatible with adolescent childbearing, cohabitation with the father of the child, and living in a non-chaotic environment. However, pregnancy planning was not associated with improved compliance with preventive health care recommendations during gestation nor with infant outcomes. As such, the consequences among adolescents with intended pregnancies were negative, as evidenced by a higher rate of smoking, STDs late in gestation, school dropout, and repeat conception. Conclusions Like adults, adolescents with intended pregnancies conceived in an objectively more supportive environment than their counterparts with unintended pregnancies. However, this advantage did not translate into better support, healthier maternal behavior during gestation, or improved pregnancy outcomes.